Almost a Century of Marion History
Kensel Clutter co-piloted B-24 bombers in WWII, and farmed in Marion for his entire career. But if you get the opportunity to speak with Mr. Clutter, he won’t tell you about those things: he will tell you about his 15 hobbies. Mr. Clutter discovered his passion for local history through a chance encounter with some unique prairie plants in the 1980s. One thing lead to another and before too long Mr. Clutter was researching local prairie land and embarking on a multi-decades long project to uncover and document local prairie history and more.
Mr. Clutter is a convincing advocate for the study of local history, and his impressive body of work is a testament to the motivating power of curiosity. He has written about and mapped the prairie land in and around Marion County, documented all but disappeared Native American trails crisscrossing the county, and written about milk production and local aviation history. And at 98 years old, he isn’t finished with his work. Fueled by boundless curiosity, Mr. Clutter is working to finish multiple ongoing projects. He also collaborates closely with The Marion County Historical Society, to preserve and publish his work. His research has connected him with students from OSU Marion that work to preserve local prairie land and experts from the Ohio Prairie Conference.
Ask Mr. Clutter why local history is important, and he will tell you that this is our history; it belongs to us, and to our neighbors and our ancestors. It is history that happened right around the corner from our homes, or occasionally in our homes! If you are socializing with a neighbor or meeting someone new in the area, the history of Genghis Khan’s empire or Napoleon at Waterloo won’t captivate the imagination; people will engage with the history that happened a stone’s throw from their home. The history in which their ancestors may have played a starring role is important to them.